St. Thomas Aquinas: Friar, Priest, and Teacher of the Faith (January 28, 1274)

The sheer magnitude of the corpus by and about St. Thomas can be intimidating. However, if one would remember him for what is most important, I think there is no better place to turn than G. K. Chesterton’s, St. Thomas Aquinas. In it he writes:

St. Thomas was becoming more of a Christian and not merely more of an Aristotelian when he insisted that God and the image of God had come in contact through matter with a material world (36)…For instance it was the very special idea of St. Thomas that Man was to be studied in his whole manhood, that a man is not a man without his body, just as he is not a man without his soul. A corpse is not a man, but also a ghost is not a man. The earlier school of Augustine and even of Anselm had neglected this, treating the soul as the only necessary treasure, wrapped for a time in a negligible napkin. Even here they were less orthodox in being more spiritual (37)…St. Thomas wanted to recover what was in essence the body of Christ; the sanctified body of the Son of Man which had become a miraculous medium between heaven and earth. And he wanted the body and all its senses because he believed rightly or wrongly that it was a Christian thing. It might be a humbler or homelier thing than the Platonic mind; that is why it is Christian. St. Thomas was, if you will, taking the lower road when he walked in the footsteps of Aristotle. So as God when he worked in the workshop of Joseph (42).

A prayer of St. Thomas from the 2019 Anglican Church North America Book of Common Prayer:

Give me, O Lord, a steadfast heart, which no unworthy thought
can drag down; an unconquered heart, which no tribulation
can wear out; an upright heart, which no unworthy purpose
can tempt aside. Bestow upon me understanding to know you,
diligence to seek you, wisdom to find you, and faithfulness that
finally may embrace you. Amen.

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